MIAMI – The UK will invest US$7.6m (£5.5m) in reorganizing and modernizing its airways. It is the country’s first effort of its kind since the establishment of the airways system in the 1950s.

According to the British Department for Transport, considering the age of some British flight paths, growth in demand and network expansion resulted in “an increase in delays, noise, and pollution.” It is worth knowing that, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK’s airspace saw up to 7,000 flights per day.

Consequently, on March 19, 2021, the British Department for Transport and Civil Aviation Authority jointly announced the establishment of a US$7.6m (£5.5m) fund to “develop and evaluate design options aimed at making journeys quicker, quieter, and cleaner.”

Photo: Manchester Airport’s file.

Comments from Airspace Change Organising Group


“We’re delighted that the government has reaffirmed the essential role that airspace modernization will play in helping the aviation industry to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mark Swan, Head of the Airspace Change Organising Group (ACOG), said. “We will continue to work with our partners across the industry to ensure this programme is one that delivers for all of the UK.”

The United Kingdom began using an airways system in 1950, using a network of radio range beacons constructed by the US military during WWII. The “Green One” became Europe’s first airway, connecting Woodley near Reading to the Welsh coast. In addition, the expansion was followed by five additional routes over the next year.


Featured image: London Heathrow aerial view. Photo: London Heathrow Airport (LHR).